The person who made Delilah White (E&H Class of 2005) feel the most welcome when she began work at Danville Community College was an older colleague, Belvie Morant, a career coach who seemed to burn with a desire to help people in the Danville, Va. area.
“Belvie was so warm and intent on helping me do well at my job,” said Delilah, who began work at the College in 2013 as an adult career coach and outreach specialist. “We developed a strong connection to one another on our first day.”
That connection would strengthen into a bond that would lead to an offer from Delilah that would save Belvie’s life – an offer of a kidney.
“I began to notice that I was seeing less of Belvie, and I had mentioned that to her one day. She took me aside and told me, ‘Delilah, I have two knees in the ground. I’m on my last kidney and I’m just a few months from dying.’”
Delilah believed her offer was necessary, not just for Belvie but for the sake of the hundreds of people she had helped through career development and placement in a region plagued by poverty and that Delilah calls home.
“The roles we played at the College – helping people get an education to advance their careers – are vital for the economic development of our community, but few people have performed these roles with the passion, care and success that Belvie has,” Delilah said. “She has single-handedly helped hundreds of people and continues to be passionate about it.”
“When she told me she was dying, I said, ‘No. You’re not going anywhere. The work you do is too important.”Delilah White
Today, Belvie is healthy and strong. “I am so happy to be able do my work without feeling sick. Delilah saved my life so that I may enrich the lives of others by giving them hope.”
Belvie praised Delilah as a creative problem-solver, who, during her brief, grant-funded tenure with the College, took great initiative to help others. “She would go out on the road to recruit clients and show them the possibilities for their futures. She took action in a way that no one had ever done before.”
After graduating from Emory & Henry in 2005 with a degree in mass communications and a minor in business management, Delilah received a master of arts in communication studies from the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
Her career has focused heavily on seeking creative approaches to helping people overcome adverse circumstances. In 2009, she began work as a health literacy consultant and research associate for the North Carolina Health Literacy Council. In that role, she performed the first statewide health literacy assessment for North Carolina.
In 2011, she began a two-year tour of duty with the Peace Corps as a girls’ education and empowerment extension agent in West Africa. In this position, she spent much of her time designing and implementing community and education needs assessments that led to the development of projects in water, sanitation and teacher training.
In 2013, she founded a corporation called VETWorkx, which seeks to provide services and projects that will lead to continuous employment for veterans. At the same time that she assists vulnerable populations, she works as the project and communications manager for the Center for Principled Problem Solving at Guilford College.
“From all of my experiences, I’ve learned different methods for approaching complex problems. I’ve learned that you must vividly tell the stories of people in need, show the research that reinforces their need, and then, take strategic action.”
But beyond all the experience, the data and the stories is a woman who values people and their promise. It was that natural impulse that led her, without hesitation, to respond to the need of a friend.
“It was only during the process of the transplant, which was ultimately painful, that I began to recognize the depths of what I was doing,” Delilah said. “Before that, I never thought about it in terms of saving a life. It was more out of a sense that I wanted Belvie to keep going, to keep doing good work for my community.”